Coachella Woman Accused of Dumping Newborn Puppies in Trash Is Back in Jail; Bail Increased to $50K

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The woman allegedly caught on camera abandoning seven newborn puppies, including one who later died, in a dumpster in Coachella in April is back behind bars on Thursday.

Deborah Culwell, foreground, appears for her arraignment in an Indio courtroom on June 18, 2019. (Credit: KMIR)
Deborah Culwell, foreground, appears for her arraignment in an Indio courtroom on June 18, 2019. (Credit: KMIR)

Deborah Sue Culwell, 55, was booked into Indio Jail shortly before 10 a.m., inmate records indicated. Her bail was set at $50,000.

Culwell had been out of jail since posting $10,000 bail on April 23, the day after her arrest in a case that has garnered widespread attention.

But during a pretrial hearing on Thursday morning, prosecutors successfully stated the case that the defendant’s bail amount be raised, The Desert Sun reported.

Her attorney objected to the bail increase, telling the court “puppies aren’t people” — an argument that drew gasps from those watching the proceeding, according to the Palm Springs-area newspaper.

Culwell has pleaded not guilty to seven felony counts of injuring the puppies and seven misdemeanor counts of abandoning them, Riverside County court officials said.

She is accused of tossing a plastic bag containing 3-day-old dogs inside a trash bin behind an auto parts store on the afternoon of April 18, according to the county’s Department of Animal Services.

The palm-sized puppies were rescued, and six of the seven survived.

In the aftermath of the incident, investigators released surveillance video of the pups being tossed in the dumpster as they sought to identify a suspect in the case.

Culwell was arrested days later at her home, where authorities also discovered 38 other dogs and took them into protective custody. The defendant relinquished ownership later that month, officials said.

“All 38 dogs found a second chance at life, thanks to rescue partner organizations with Riverside County,” according to a video update from the animal service department last month.

Culwell is due back in court next Monday, according to the jail record.

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